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Library Service Blog

Managing online exam nerves

by Naz Ali on 2021-05-18T16:23:42+01:00 in Skills | Comments

Feature image: Managing your exam nerves.

After over a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us have adapted to the ‘new normal’ ways of working and studying online, but for many students the prospect of doing an online 24-hour exam may be quite daunting. 

The best advice we can give you is to accept that while these circumstances are unusual, you can still take positive steps to succeed.

It is about you taking control of your mindset and finding strategies to support you with the physical, mental & emotional experiences that you may be feeling. Remember you are not alone! Try to reframe the situation and make it work for you.

The one advantage, I see of online exams, is there is less emphasis on memorising vast quantities of information to regurgitate in a small-time frame and more on being ready on the day. The reliance here is on preparation – organising notes & resources, planning sample answers and making on the day exam schedules, as well as looking after your wellbeing so you are at your best.

Also, make it a habit to regularly check blackboard for updates and announcements daily in case of any changes and new information that may be important to know.


Before the Exam:

It’s fine to feel some level of nerves but try and stay calm enable you to focus and approach the exam in the right frame of mind.

Plan ahead – Create crib sheets or quick look guides,  prepare some templates for your answers, organise your notes and text books, and plan how you will spend your time on the day. For more advice see our guide on Exam revision & strategy here.

Make sure you are familiar with key pieces of literature and have some versatile examples suitable for several answers.

We have Exam revision webinars and 1-1 appointments which you can book here:

If you haven’t got a quiet place to work you can book a pc in the library here.

Create a schedule for on the day so you know when you are having a break. Think about when you work best and work your timings accordingly. This will help you to stay focussed and motivated.

The night before don’t start cramming. instead use the time to get prepared– clear your desk space, and gather your resources, i.e., pens, paper, calculator, laptop together & try to relax. Remind yourself that you ‘can do this’.


On the day

Read the exam paper and questions carefully.  Look at the marks allocated for each question and decide which you are going to do first to maximise your marks. Resist the urge to do further reading and concentrate on answering the questions during the allocated time frame.

Make a plan before you start writing as this will help you to structure your answer and avoid you including any unnecessary information.

Work at a time of day when you are more focussed and alert. Work in short burst of 45 mins without interruption. You might want to use a pomodoro timer to help you stay motivated.

Save your work regularly and use simple formatting (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman), size 12pt and normal margins.

Don’t forget to proofread your work! Text to speech software can help you spot any grammatical errors.

Further reading: Assessments and exams from home

Kate Parr. Skills Centre Learning Advisor

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